Mintu picks 37 players for training
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday disclosed a 37-member preliminary squad for AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers, with head coach Julfiker Mahmud Mintu focusing on physical and mental preparation to fight it out against superior rivals in the campaign.
Bangladesh have been pitted against Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines in Group H, with 11 group winners and four best runners-up teams slated to advance to the finals of the competition.
"It is a big challenge for me to make the players ready physically and mentally as I can't get seven to eight players from the national team due to different engagements including that of the national team as well as of Abahani and Bashundhara Kings," said Mintu, who previously worked as an assistant coach of the national team.
"It is tough to predict results in the qualifiers as all depends on how the players adapt to the way I want them to play and also how they implement the strategy on the ground," Mintu said. "However, I am hopeful that the boys can do that."
In the five previous additions, Bangladesh lost 14 out of 16 matches, only managing to beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in the 2020 edition and playing out a goalless draw against India in the 2016 edition. They suffered heavy defeats against opponents such as Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Tajikistan, Palestine, Syria and Yemen in the past.
"Thailand and Malaysia are strong opponents who have been together for one-and-a-half years. They play high-pressing football, so, we have to find out how to play against them, resisting their high-pressing football," said Mintu.
After discussing with national team's head coach Javier Cabrera, Mintu picked 10 players from the Asian Games contingent in his squad, which will begin its residential camp at BKSP today.
6 Sept Bangladesh vs Malaysia
9 Sept Bangladesh vs Thailand
12 Sept Bangladesh vs Philippines